Currently viewing the category: "Horntails, Wood Wasps and Sawflies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Vermont fly
Location: Vermont
July 25, 2016 7:29 pm
Hey. My buddy was doing work in VT today andd saw this fly on the tower he’s working on. He is curious what it is. Thank you.
Signature: Dan H

Elm Sawfly

Elm Sawfly

Dear Dan,
This Elm Sawfly is actually a non-stinging relative of Bees and Wasps, and not a true fly.

Thank you for your quick reply. You nailed the identification. Thank you so much and keep up the great work!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large flying wasp insect
Location: North East England
July 17, 2016 1:15 pm
Hello,
I was working in Hornsea, England today and this insect paid us a visit on a rooftop, clung to a roll of roofing felt. As we had no idea what it was, we were wondering if we could find out what it is!
Signature: Michael Cockerill

Wood Wasp

Wood Wasp

Dear Michael,
This is a harmless Giant Wood Wasp,
Urocerus gigas, and we just finished posting an image of a Giant Wood Wasp from Ireland.

Daniel,
Thanks very much for your response, really appreciate the reply!
Very best wishes,
Michael

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Whats this bug?
Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
July 24, 2016 10:32 am
Hi All!
I live in Surrey, BC Canada and had this bug land on my boat cover as I was doing some chores.
It was/is about 3cm long… ish… and just seemed pretty content to fly around after I took a few pics.
Never seen something like this and we’re hoping you could tell us what it is.
Thanks!
Signature: Richard

Wood Wasp

Wood Wasp

Dear Richard,
This beautiful, and harmless, Wood Wasp or Horntail is
Urocerus albicornis, a North American species, found, according to BugGuide, in “forested regions from southern boreal Canada south to NC-MP-NM-CA.”  BugGuide also notes:  “hosts include fir, larch, spruce, pine, Douglas-fir, hemlock, and western red cedar.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Help
Location: Ireland
July 16, 2016 12:24 pm
Hi,I’ve seen only one of these guys before. It’s maybe 1-2 inches long,as thick as a pen and the rest is in the picture. Would love to know what it is!! I thought it liked a bit like a fat mayfly
Signature: Thankyou

Wood Wasp

Wood Wasp

This is a Wood Wasp or Horntail, Urocerus gigas, and according to the Irish site Gardening.ie:  “Wood wasps, also called horntails, are pretty scary insects. They’re large, they’re fast and noisy fliers, they come in yellow and black warning colours and they have what looks like a ferocious stinger on their rear ends. But, although they’re doing their best to frighten you off, they’re completely harmless. ”  According to GeoGraph:  ” It does not sting; the feature which gives rise to its common name is an ovipositor, used to lay eggs in coniferous wood.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Thing is huge
Location: Anchorage AK
July 9, 2016 1:41 pm
I have never seen one of these before. It is pretty close to 2 inches long. Biggest wasp i have ever encountered
Signature: Cory brignone

Horntail

Wood Wasp

Dear Cory,
This is one of the Horntails or Wood Wasps in the family Siricidae.  They have larvae that are wood borers.  Your particular Wood Wasp is Urocerus flavicornis, a species that uses conifers as the host.  According to BugGuide its range is:  “all forested regions of Canada and the US.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: unknown insect
Location: Bay Area, California
June 14, 2016 2:45 pm
Hello,
Love this site and use it often! I got this photo from a co-worker and couldn’t identify it with my books or your posts. It was found on a backpack in early June. Is it some kind of horntail larvae?
I think you are out in the field, I look forward to your answer when you return. Thanks for your time!
Signature: Jess
Resource Analyst  | Stewardship
East Bay Regional Park District
Oakland, CA

Unknown Larva

Probably Longtailed Sawfly Larva

Dear Jess,
Thanks for your patience, though we received so much mail while we were away that we will never be able to respond to everything.  This looks nothing like the drawing of a Horntail larva pictured on Bug Eric.  It appears to have an ovipositor, and we are not aware of any larvae that possess an ovipositor.  Like you, we are stumped.  We will write to Eric Eaton to see if he can provide an identification.  For now, we will classify it as a Beetle Grub, but we are not convinced that this the appropriate classification.

Eric Eaton responds
Reminds me of a rat-tailed maggot, except those don’t have legs, which this one clearly does, plus a head capsule….I’m stumped, too.
Eric

Update:  As we await additional information from Jess, we are featuring this posting and requesting assistance from our readership.
Dear Jess, please provide us with any additional information, like size.  Also, was this discovery made on a backpack in the field, or was it shortly after an excursion?

Hello Daniel,
Thanks so much for your time on this! My co-worker is off at a conference, and didn’t provide a size. However, using his photograph of the backpack(see the blurry strap?);  it looks to be about 2.5-3 stitches long. I measured the reinforced stitches on my backpack and got approx. 8-10mm. When I first saw it and said it looked like a cricket larva, he said it was “a small cricket-size”. After review of cricket larva (no ovipositor) and rat-tailed maggots, I emailed. Maybe a female after a molt? But no wings….
He was out in the field, likely a grassland in one of our parks: Alameda or Contra Costa Counties of the East Bay.
Thanks to Eric for his time too.
I hope this helps,
Jess

Thanks for the information Jess,
Now that this request is back in our consciousness, we had a thought.  It reminds us of a Sawfly Larva, especially some Australian Sawflies, and sure enough, we found a Longtailed Sawfly in our archives that looks nearly exactly like your image.  Here is another image from the Australian Museum.  Now our mission is to see if any North American Sawflies have the long tail or if this might perhaps be an Australian introduction, a direction in which we are leaning as there are so many eucalyptus trees and other Australian fauna already naturalized in Southern California.  Now, going back to your original request, you suggested a Horntail Larva, and interestingly, Horntails and Sawflies are classified together as Symphyta which you may verify on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination